Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our home for 36 nights ...

Built in 2008, Celebrity Solstice is one of the largest cruise ships operating in Australian waters.  It weighs in at 122,000 tons (which is actually a measure of size/volume, not weight) and carries 2,850 passengers and 1,500 crew.  She is nearly 315 metres long and 37 metres wide, and apparently has 19 decks, of which passengers have access to 13.  The level where the life boats are is deck 5 ... our cabin will be on deck 8 on the hump area emblazoned with an "X".  I will undoubtedly tell you more about the ship when we are on board.

I did take the opportunity to go and have a look at Solstice when she was last in Sydney, and I grabbed a few photos that show what makes Sydney one of the most beautiful cruise ports in the world ... 

Where to this time?

American Adventure 1 saw us spend time in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Mexico, Coast Rica, Panama, Colombia, Florida, San Juan and an assortment of Eastern Caribbean islands.  It was an awesome holiday, and combined Janet’s love of cruising with my wish to explore new and interesting places on land. 

The genesis of that holiday actually began with Janet wanting to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary on a cruise across the Pacific.  As it transpired, that didn’t happen.  Janet still got her anniversary cruise, but instead we were enroute to the Panama Canal, sailing from California (San Diego) to Florida (Fort Lauderdale).  I persuaded her that a cruise through the Panama Canal would offer longer lasting memories than a whole heap of days at sea sailing across the Pacific.  I was proven right ... to a point! While one of her highlights of American Adventure 1 was indeed our Panama Canal transit, Janet has continued to retain a wish to sail across the Pacific via French Polynesia.

And so, in American Adventure 2, Janet gets her wish … we will be cruising across the Pacific on our 40th anniversary!

American Adventure 2 kicks off with 36 (yes, 36) days of cruising on Celebrity Solstice.  We depart from Sydney on Friday 11 April 2014 before finally leaving our home at sea on Friday 16 May in Seattle, Washington.  

The original plan was to do two back to back cruises … from Sydney to Honolulu  via Tahiti/Bora Bora, and then from Hawaii to Ensenada, Mexico, where Celebrity would shuttle us up over the border to San Diego.  That bit seemed a bit crazy, but some dumb US law prevents cruise ships from sailing directly between Hawaii and California, hence the diversion to Ensenada, just over the border.  

After we had booked (but fortunately, before we had started doing any post-cruise planning), Celebrity changed the itinerary so that Solstice would now sail to Vancouver, Canada, from where it will begin its Alaska season.  For us, that was great news … Alaska was on our bucket list of places to get to on this holiday (if possible), and now we could do so without even having to pack up our luggage or move out of our “hotel” room.

American Adventure 2 will then take us to Seattle and Vancouver and into the Canadian Rockies, where we will spend a week climbing riding up mountains, walking on glaciers, gazing at beautiful lakes and snow clad mountains, etc etc.  We  did consider taking the Rocky Mountaineer to Banff/Jasper, as so many do, but in the end opted for a car on the basis that it offers more flexibility than a train in terms of being able to go where you want when you want. 

 Phase 3 of American Adventure 2 will then take us across to the other side of the American continent ... first stop will be Washington DC for a few days, before we head off on a road trip through small town America.  This drive will take us across New York state to Niagara Falls and into Ontario, where we will be lucky enough to share a day with a whole heap of my many Canadian cousins, most of whom I have never met.  Then it’s across to Montreal and down through Vermont/New Hampshire/Massachusetts to Boston.  

At that point, we hand back the car and get on a train to our home for the next week or so ... New York City.  Yes, New York, New York ... top of my bucket list!  The one place I regret not including in American Adventure 1.  

I can tell you ... there would not have been an American Adventure 2 without New York City.  Janet gets her transpacific cruise, I get my NYC … life is good, everyone is happy!
now we can head home.  Wrong!!  You can’t just hop on a plane and fly home … after all the hustle and bustle of NYC and all the road travel before that, surely we've got to have some R&R time before we go home.  

So American Adventure 2 concludes with a relaxing week-long cruise to Florida and the Bahamas ... time in the sun and even a chance to have a swim at the beach ... aah, the serenity ... 

Then, before we know it and all too soon ... 25 hours of homeward travel ... JFK to LAX to SYD ... but at least it will be in economy plus seats!

W'ere heading to America ... again!

Five years in the making … put together at great expense … starring the same pair of inveterate travellers as last time… taking us to so many new and exciting places … 

We'll sail the high seas ... be awe struck by the earth's natural beauty ... climb to heights that we just don't see at home ... meet up with never seen family ... see small town America ... navigate our way along the byways of America ... experience the hustle and bustle of New York life ... take in a ballgame (at Yankee Stadium no less) ... and much much more. 

Stay tuned ... American Adventure 2: The Sequel, the story of our 40th anniversary adventure, is coming very soon to a computer/smartphone screen near you!!

Enjoy it with us!